Safe Sleep Aids

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Hey guys, I've been having insomnia for the last week because I can't stop thinking about all the work I have to do! I just lay in bed for hours when im exhausted and don't get much sleep in the end. I really need to get enough sleep because i'm a grad student and TA and have pretty exhausting work hours.

Does anyone have any safe suggestions for sleep aids? I took some pain reliever that had a sleep aid in it twice this week just because i had some lying around and that seemed to work really well.  However I don't know if this is bad for me so i'm weary on taking it a lot...

 
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Some people have had success with taking Melatonin. I prefer taking Valerian. I find it relaxes me enough to sleep.  I have pretty vivid dreams naturally and taking melatonin just made them ultra vivid. They're both homeopathic and non-narcotic non habit forming.  You can usually find melatonin in most drug stores. It can be a little harder to find valerian. 

 
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Before turning to a drug take a look at what you're doing a couple of hours before bed time. In your bedroom get rid of anything that has a light - clock, radio, tv - or get a sleep mask. Maybe get a fan for some white noise. Some people find a nice lukewarm to warm shower helps them relax while others find it keeps them awake. Try some chamomile tea to wind down. Turn the tv off for an hour before bed. No music, no noise, nothing that would stimulate your brain. If all this fails then I would recommend talking to your doctor first before taking any medication - even over-the-counter (OTC) such as melatonin or Valerian or even Benadryl (Tylenol PM, Advil PM's main sleep ingredient is Benadryl).

You can find Valerian at RiteAid, Drugstore.com or a health store, Melatonin is sold everywhere - if you're a Costco member you can get it for less there than at a drugstore. If you take any other type of medication - even OTC - talk to a pharmacist to make sure there are no interactions with any other medication. SOME drugs - even vitamins and supplements - can be blocked if you drink certain liquids like milk or orange juice so talk to a pharmacist (it's free).

 
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Changing your night time routines will also help you sleep better.  Find ways to wind down and forget about work from the moment you step in your door.  Go for a walk, take a bath, watch a movie or tv before bed.  Have a warm beverage like warm milk, or non-caffeinated teas.  You can also practice breathing techniques to promote relaxation and sleep. 

The compounds in the medications may not be addictive but human habit and dependency is individual.  You can become addicted to the routine and grow depend on the ritual of taking medications in order to sleep. 

 
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Thanks for the suggestions! I'll try some of them, unfortunately my days are 8am-9:30pm at night. So that doesn't leave me much time to relax since I usually still have an hour more of work to do. I'm going to try to drink more relaxing teas at night. TV usually just keeps me up even longer and reading doesn't work for me since I do that all day and get pretty tired of it! 

I've been taking homeopathic and herbal supplements for my stress for the last 4-5 years which has really helped (usually kava or bach's rescue remedy). I guess i'm just used to taking herbal supplements and thought their would be a similar type herb/tea for insomnia. I'll try some routine changes though and see if that works.

Thanks!

 

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